HEV is the acronym that refers to the French certification "High Environmental Value" supervised by the Code of Agriculture and the Code of Maritime Fishing in order to promote environmentally-friendly agricultural practices that conserve biodiversity and natural resources. The High Environmental Value conforms to the 3rd level of the environnemental certification of farms (the highest certification). The HEV is developing at a high speed all over the French territory and already counts near 20 000 certified farms.
Stemming from the « Grenelle de l’environnement » , the farm’s environmental certification is a volunteering approach that aims to identify and bring out the agricultural practices that respect the environment. The HEV certification covers four key thematics:
The HEV (High Environmental Value) certification, also known as HEV 3 certification, offers many short and long term advantages. It helps you to highlight your environmental approach and registers your farm into an officially approved quality process.
The Commission Nationale de Certification Environnementale (CNCE) has defined a precise framework enabling certification for agricultural holdings via Decree No. 2011-694 of 20 June 2011 relating to the environmental certification of agricultural holdings. This environmental certification programme consists of different levels:
Level 1, known as cross-compliance, consists of an assessment demonstrating that the farm meets all the environmental requirements of cross-compliance with EU CAP aid, and an evaluation of the farm in relation to level 2 standards and/or level 3 environmental performance criteria. The procedure is carried out by an organisation authorised as a Farm Advisory System (Level 1 procedure guide).
Level 2 certification requires compliance with 16 criteria, covering 25 control points across the 4 themes mentioned above. The procedure must be performed by a certifying body authorised by the Ministry of Agriculture. Level 2 audit plan and Order of 20 June 2011 applying Article D. 617-3 of the Rural and Maritime Fishing Code and adopting the standards framework for the environmental certification of agricultural holdings.
Level 3 is structured on a results-based obligation. This is the only level that qualifies for the "High Environmental Value" label. Level 3 has two assessment options. Decree of 20 June 2011 applying Article D. 617-4 of the Rural and Maritime Fishing Code and defining the environmental performance thresholds for the environmental certification of agricultural holdings and the related performance indicators. The options are as follows:
Option 3A => the assessment involves calculating 4 composite indicators, each corresponding to one of the 4 certification themes (Level 3 Audit plan - Option A).
Option 3B => the evaluation relates to two global indicators which are the weight of the inputs in the turnover, and the part of the surfaces favorable to biodiversity compared to the SAU (Level 3 Audit plan - Option B).
SOCOFRET, a certifying body authorised by the Ministry of Agriculture (Decision of 20 October 2016 and published in the French Official Journal), offers you an efficient way of obtaining certification, with qualified auditors to perform the relevant assessments for the various levels available (level 2, 3A and 3B).
Environmental certification is voluntary. Producers wishing to participate in the scheme can do so on an individual or joint basis.
The various steps are detailed in the following documents:
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